Street photography to inspire

July 31st, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

A Wired interview/shoot with Clay Enos. I love this man’s no bullshit approach. The sun is his light, he’s anything but shy and he uses a 50mm lens to get what he wants.

How my back bone gave me strength

July 29th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

A guest post by Vixel on how her scoliosis changed her for the better

I am a firm believer in clichés such as “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I believe that we are the product of our experiences, both good and bad. Everything we go through, every choice we make, shapes us slightly, and helps us become who we are, which is why, after years of trying not to let Scoliosis define me, I realised that if I could somehow wish it away, I don’t think I would. (Scholiosis is a word used to describe abnormal side to side curves of the spine, for more information, access iscoliosis.com)

Vicki Hirst

Vixel

I like the person I am today, and although I may at times hate the way I look, the pain, and the fact that sometimes I just can’t physically keep up with everyone else, I know that a lot of my best personality traits are a direct result of Scoliosis-related experiences.

I am fiercely independent.

After surgery as a child, people had to carry my bag for me at school, I had to go up to the I.T room before class with the teacher as the top stairs were rather precarious and while at first I felt like a bit of a princess (I was ten and terribly precocious), I soon grew tired of having to depend on other people for things.

Deep down I also had the impression from several older relatives that some members of the family really didn’t see much of a working future for me, I think they expected me to end up unable to support myself. I don’t blame them for this but it ignited in me a burning desire to be totally independent and self-sufficient, never having to rely on anyone. If I come across a problem, I like to tackle it myself, and will only ask for help if I’ve first tried to sort it out on my own. As such, I’ve developed a personality trait that allows me to deal with setbacks and work with them, rather than dwelling on them.

I value learning and intelligence.

I’m never going to be a model, an athlete, or anything else I have to meet strict physical criteria for.

I can’t do manual labour.

I’d find standing at a shop counter all day very difficult, so I’ve known from the start that in order to succeed, I’d have to use my brain.

When other kids were running around the playground at school, I was sitting on a tree stump reading. When recovering from surgery I took extra French classes instead of P.E. and I think that’s the main reason I did well at French at GCSE level. I love learning, and finding out about a new fascinating subject is my favourite pastime.

I can go into a shop, pick up an item of clothing and know just by looking whether or not it will fit me.

There’s a lot to be said for having a weird body shape, you really get to know about what looks good! I could never claim to be a fashion expert, but I’m very much an expert at shopping for me!

I’ve spent so many years trying not to be defined by Scoliosis; being paranoid that people won’t see past the medical condition and see that I’m no different from anyone else, that often I forget just how much it has shaped my character.

I’d be a completely different person had I never been diagnosed, and I’d never trade my personality, my great group of friends (some whom I’ve made through support forums, that include some of the most amazing people I know) and the knowledge I’ve gained for a “perfect” body.

Vixel is a blogger for Sparkle and Glitter, a blog-zine project that attempts to observe the sparkle and glitter that makes our daily lives shine a little brighter and helps make life a bit more interesting.”

A blast from the mediascape past

July 24th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Notes I made in 2006 about the changing media. It seems that in 2009 there is a slow blending of the two; new, evolutionary media and the old media playing catch-up.

  • Old Media: Pre-internet era; film, T.V, radio, print. Big business and big money.
    In a formal and instructive tone, tell your audience the definitive truth. This media has the capacity to publish large amount of facts and data.
  • New Media/We Media: Internet-based for production, delivery and storage. Small business, no or minimal money.
    In an informal and conversational tone. Audience will share items they find interesting within their own trust network, thus creating their own truth. We media tools are used to facilitate trust, transparency, engagement and communication. Dig journalism: A discussion in which readers may know more than the journalists. The audience will act as a “smart mob” to fact-check stories (Just like Twitter now, I suppose). Multiple first sources and select facts and data.

Old VS New

Tell Your Audience  VS Build Community

Transmitting Stories VS Engage + Participate

Formal + Instructive VS Informal + Conversational

I guess my years at university paid off if these were the notes I was making three years ago in a digital journalism class.

Photowalk, Aussie vernacular, yoga and frankie.

July 22nd, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Last Saturday I took part in a worldwide photo walk. It was odd, a bunch of people with everything from small point and shoots to dinosaur lenses just shooting the same things on a pre-designated route. At first I was distraught, how could each of us possible shoot a unique angle of the same damn building? How could we avoid getting other people in the shot and more importantly, where did all the bloody mozzies come from?*

But as I grew into the situation, I decided to shoot what interested me instead of what I thought I ought to shoot. We were on a university ground and I was surprised at the amount of litter so I turned my camera downwards and took some pretty interesting shots, some of garbage, others of random beautiful things. It was really nice and almost rivaled my awesome Saturday.

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

Here are some links that are currently inspiring me:

David Guttenfelder is a war photojournalist that I found absolutely amazing. Have a look at some of his pictures on the New York Times site.

Kevin Spacey explains Twitter to Letterman. Awesome.

I love Chaz from Yoga Amazing cause he’s a versatile kinda bloke. Trying Tree Pose while brushing my teeth = new exciting chore. I’m up for that.

The Professional Hobo (a wonderful name) did an amusing post on Aussie slang. Shit like this always amuses me because I just take the Australian bastardised version of English for granted, like anything one grows up with.

And finally, were you aware that my beloved frankie is now available for download? I know I heaved a sigh of relief/excitement.

*See above link to Aussie slang.

Why I get sunburnt in Australia and pale in the States

July 20th, 2009 § 4 comments § permalink

I never understood why I burnt to a crisp in one day down under yet I could walk around for weeks in a singlet with so much as a tan in downtown D.C, what with the 4WDs thundering down streets and the number of people per square kilometer.

Turns out this lack of tan is because of two things; a meterological belt that stops all the northern hemisphere pollution heading south and temperature. Yes, northern hemisphere, you cause a lot of pollution but that’s because there are more of you.

“The stratosphere in the southern hemisphere — the layer of atmosphere where the ozone layer lies, 15 to 50 kilometres above the Earth’s surface — is about five degrees Celsius (41 F) colder than in the northern hemisphere.” Because of this cooler temperature, it’s harder for the southern hemisphere to digest all the CFCs let off into the air, the extra ice sucks out cholorine from CFCs.

Remember, if you’re travelling down south to be extra cautious. I know you want to get a tan to show off your Aussie trip, but Australians have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. “The winter time UV level that we measure here in Brisbane are more than that in summer in the Netherlands” Professor Michael Kimlin, a cancer researcher told ABC.

So, as Sid the Seagull reminds all Aussies, remember to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.

It wouldn’t hurt to adhere to these rules no matter where you live.

Sources:

ABC Science

Aussie Skin Cancer Risk

How to write an essay

July 17th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

You could write the bones of an essay in under five minutes if you know what’s required. Here’s the skeleton to get you started.

An essay is made of three things, an introduction, body and conclusion. When compiling your essay, even if it’s a timed test, jot down five strong points and four not so important points that will expand on your idea. Under each point write down one or two references or case studies, the less words you write now, the better. This is meant to sort out your head.

Once you’ve vomited your train of thought onto the page, write down numbers next to each point so you can build your essay into an argument strong wall.

One example would look like what I jotted down for my critique of T.S Eliot’s the Hollow Men:

tselliot

Start on your introduction by addressing the essay question in your first sentence. The whole point of an intro is to say, I’m going to change your mind by presenting these points of argument. It shouldn’t be longer than four sentences and should always be straight to the point.

Every idea you present in the body should be included in the introduction.

T.S Eliot drew on his lifelong research on Dante and his new found anglo-Catholic beliefs to compile his poem; the Hollow Men, a more cynical take on the Lord’s Prayer. Guy Fawkes, a figure in history that tried unsuccessfully to overthrow his house of parliament, is referenced throughout the poem as well as Joseph Conrad’s tale of isolation, Heart of Darkness. T.S Eliot uses these sources to build a compelling story of angst and dispair.

The body paragraphs should be an outline: the first sentence is what you believe, the second, third, fourth and fifth sentence should be sources, quotes and references. The sixth sentence should bring your first idea and combine it with the sources to bring about an argument that leaves no room for doubt.

Prior to writing the Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot wrote extensively about Dante, particularly the great masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, this would have influenced his own writing. The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot (Moody, 1994, p. 19) informs that “Eliot’s time at Harvard furnished a sum of intellectual capital – Dante – that he drew on for the rest of his life. He also relied on its resources as he wrote his first mature poetry”. Unlike the Divine Comedy, T.S. Eliot’s characters never reach the comforting arms of Beatrice, which he portrays as a shallow sham that offers no real peace.

“Those who crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.” (13 to 18, Section I)

Eliot’s lack of romantic views when describing those that have gone to heaven illustrates how he has taken Dante’s idea and turned it on it’s head.

Your conclusion shouldn’t be longer than five sentences. Never, ever introduce a new idea in your conclusion. It’s better to create a whole new paragraph into your body than to introduce a new train of thought. Summarise what you’ve already said and leave the essay with your strongest point.

In conclusion, [insert points]. Eliot drew on several rich with mythology sources that he twisted into a morbid and empty story that showed his view of the Christian after-life.

Pointers:

  • Never say “I” or “in my opinion” in an essay, this is supposed to be an objective argument. This is a golden rule and if you break it, the English gods will smote you.
  • Never say “you”, this is not a conversation, people.
  • The more formal the language, the better.
  • Even though you’re showing your side of the case, it helps to include other train of thoughts, to build your credibility more than anything else. Only do this if you have the extra time and word count and prove why you’re dismissing the other side by saying your point/sources are stronger.
  • Always take the time to reference correctly, this gets you easy extra points.
  • Don’t use shifty sources that contradict themselves.
  • That being said, don’t contradict yourself either, stick to a game plan.

If I’ve missed a crucial element, let me know and I’ll add it.

An inspirational postcard

July 15th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

from me to you.

lulemon postcard

Sublime

July 13th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

Sublime: that which is profoundly beautiful.

It can be terrifying or disturbing. It will certainly be challenging and extremelly well wrought.

It is not the only form of beauty but it is one of the most important as it evokes issues held somehow sacred. Thus, it entails the wider axiological triangle of ethics, morality and aesthetics.